Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Jo Luczak, thank you for your blood donation!
▲ PMC Community Wellness staffers Becky Turland and Julie Walker served healthy foods to kids on the last day of the Super Kids ORCA camp in August.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: After the Rainforest Run, several participants gathered for a group photo. Mikalai Potrzuski, Dustin Crump, Casey Gates, Scott Burt, Julie Walker, Debby Eddy, Ruby Shumway (Fitz Shumway), Pam Speck, and Joe Viechnicki
Vote in upcoming PMC board election!
GO VOTE! The Petersburg Medical Center Board has two openings for three-year terms. The open seats are currently held by Kathi Riemer and Jim Roberts, and both are on the ballot to remain in their board seats. Challenging them on the ballot are Heather Conn, Alan Gross, and Donna Marsh. Don't forget that as a community member, it's your job to vote! The election is on Tuesday, October 5.

PETERSBURG'S FIRST BLOOD DRIVE: The Blood Bank of Alaska visited Petersburg in August for the community's first blood drive. In two days they saw 107 people and received 80 units of blood, potentially saving 240 Alaskans' lives. Thank you to Parks and Recreation for helping with the location, advertising, and coordination; to Hammer and Wikan Grocery for food donations; to Papa Bear's Pizza for donating cookies; to Salty Pantry for providing dinner to Blood Bank of Alaska staff; and to all who came to donate blood.

COVID-19 HOTLINE: Please call our COVID-19 hotline 907-772-5788 if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are traveling and would like to test, need asymptomatic or symptomatic testing, or are interested in receiving your first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose. Let's get to herd immunity. Stay safe!

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
ORCA camp keeps kids active, teaches nutrition
Petersburg Medical Center co-hosted the weeklong ORCA (Outdoor Recreation Creation Adventure) camp organized by Kinder Skog, the local after-school nature program, in August.
Super Kids ORCA Camp was designed based on input from youth participants, according to Katie Holmlund, Kinder Skog director.
“In the spring we asked the Skoggy Wogs (Kinder Skogs' name for kids in the program) to vision board what they wanted from the summer,” Holmlund said. “Learning about ways to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy was on their list.”
Focused on physical activity and nutrition, the ORCA camp drew 25 kids, ages 5-12. Activities included a field day, a hike, Native Youth Olympics, team challenges, and "Try Day Friday," which involved trying unfamiliar healthy foods.
On Friday, participants showcased to their parents what they had been doing all week. All took home new recipes, knowledge of nutrition, and a camp T-shirt.

“Because the kids had a vested interest in the camp and topic, they showed up eager to play and learn,” Holmlund said. “The week was just the start of a wonderful friendship between PMC and Kinder Skog.”
PMC's Community Wellness team, Julie Walker and Becky Turland, helped plan the camp and worked at it as well. Thank you to all the sponsors and donors who supported the camp.
▲ The ORCA group on a hike.
▲ Lucia Worhatch tries a Native Youth Olympics event.
▲ Joe Viechnicki was the first male half-marathon runner to cross the finish line at 1 hour, 44 minutes and 1 second. Congrats, Joe!
Annual Rainforest Run gets Petersburg residents moving
A mix of rain and sunshine accompanied participants in this year's traditional Labor Day Rainforest Run.

Race director Beth Loesch worked with Petersburg Medical Center staff and community volunteers to host the event.

Seven 10k walkers started the course at 8am on Monday, Sept. 6. A mix of twelve 10k runners and ten half-marathoners took off at 9am—along with members of the Petersburg High School cross country team, who ran the trail as practice.

The race started and ended at Sandy Beach, with participants making their way up Cabin Creek Road until their turnaround point.

PMC would like to thank the following for helping with the event:
  • Cross country coaches Tommy Thompson and Marketa Ith, who helped with the water station;
  • Carin Christenson and Emil Tucker, who set the course and staffed an aid station;
  • Sally Dwyer, Joe Viechnicki and Carin Christenson, who supplied cookies, brownies, pies and cakes for participants;
  • Beth Loesch, race director, for making the event happen.

Also, thank you to all who came out to walk or run the course! The event raised over $300 in donations for the PHS cross country team.
She hasn't moved far, but she's come a long way!
Helen Boggs is right back where she started from.

Born at Petersburg Medical Center, she now occupies the LTC nursing director office—which is just a few doors down the hall from where she was delivered in 1989.

Helen has always called Petersburg home. Even while living in Juneau for a few of her younger years, Helen made her way back during summers to spend time with family and help on her uncle’s seine boat.

Helen attended the University of Alaska Anchorage for her undergraduate, pre-nursing and nursing degrees. She then moved home in August of 2011 and started as a registered nurse at PMC almost immediately.

“It was intimidating starting at PMC right out of school, knowing I would be helping so many community members,” Helen said.

She soon grew comfortable with the PMC team, however, and in 2014 stepped up as interim LTC manager to cover for Mamie Nilsen, who was on an extended maternity break. When Mamie decided to leave the position altogether in 2015, Helen transitioned fully into her new role—with the new title of LTC director of nursing.

Helen’s job pulls her in several directions. She coordinates care for all LTC residents, networking with residents and their families and doctors. She holds regular meetings and sees that all information is updated and passed on to LTC staff to ensure resident needs are met. She also supervises all LTC staff, nurses, CNAs and activities staff. When nursing staff on the inpatient floor are short-handed, Helen helps out. She also takes regular on-call shifts.

Though working as a new nurse in her home community at first felt intimidating, Helen now finds that this familiarity adds meaning to her work.

“Seeing folks leave is always the hardest part of my days, but it can also be the best,” Helen said. “Some residents leave and get to go home with their family, move to the manor, or have to go to another facility.

“Even when you are happy that they get to leave, it’s still sad knowing you won’t get to see them every day anymore.”

Helen is married to Joey Boggs. The two reconnected in 2009 when Helen came home from college for her birthday. Helen’s mother had invited Joey, a longtime family friend, for the celebration. Helen and Joey married in 2012 and now have daughters Audrey, 7, and Erika, 4.

When Helen isn’t working or on-call she spends her days with her family and friends. She enjoys camping, boating, hiking, swimming, traveling, or working at their family cabin.
▲ Helen (right) and cousin Mary Evans fishing in 2010.
▲ Helen and oldest daughter Audrey on a hike this past summer.
▲ Helen, husband Joey, and daughters Erika and Audrey.
▲ Phil Hofstetter, CEO and audiologist, performs a hearing screening on student Grady Walker with assistance from Bessie Johnson, medical assistant and specialty clinic coordinator.
▲ Ashley Kawashima, behavioral health clinician, offered resources to families at the event.
New health and resources fairs get kids ready for school
Students lined up in August to participate in the Petersburg Medical Center Wellness Team's first-ever Back-to-School Health and Resources Fairs.

"It was great to get the kids screened, immunized and ready for back to school," said Julie Walker, Community Wellness coordinator.

Fairs were held at the elementary school on Saturday, Aug. 21, and in the high school commons on Monday, Aug. 23. All services were provided at no cost, including sports physicals, hearing screenings, and immunizations. Turnout was impressive.

Elementary School:
  • 21 health screenings (hearing, vision, height, weight, with three students referred for hearing or vision appointments);
  • 4 kindergarten immunizations
  • 20+ families visited the resource tables and got yummy snacks

Middle/High School:
  • 16 sports physicals
  • 7 teens vaccinated (3 COVID-only, 3 other teen vaccines, 1 COVID + teen vaccines)
  • 1 adult vaccination (school employee, add-on for COVID)
  • 20+ students visited the resource tables outside.

Dr. Mark Tuccillo performed the sports physicals, PMC CEO and audiologist Phil Hofstetter conducted hearing screenings, and Erin Michael, public health nurse, administered immunizations.

Resource tables were hosted by PMC, Petersburg Public Health, Petersburg Dental, SEARHC Dental, PIE (Partners in Education), Migrant Ed, Child Find, WAVE (Working Against Violence for Everyone), the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department, and HIP (Humanity in Progress).

PMC thanks all the providers, agencies, businesses, and students who made this first-time effort a success!
August sunshine brings patio picnics and root beer floats to LTC
Long Term Care residents were not disappointed about the sunshine this August; however, many agree that Petersburg is on its way to fall! Lots of baking, walks through town, and visitors brought smiles to LTC residents in August. On sunny days, we had picnics on the patio or enjoyed root beer floats while visiting with friendly faces from the community. On rainier days, residents sometimes helped make soups and other comfort foods. Several residents enjoyed van rides throughout the month—rain or shine.
Over the summer residents helped plan a 100% vaccination drawing for LTC, thanks to donations and help from several local businesses. Because all our residents were vaccinated against COVID-19, they wanted to have an LTC-only drawing similar to what the state had earlier offered but on a smaller level, focusing more on local treasures. After communicating with a couple local businesses, our Activities Department is excited to finally get the drawing underway and show residents our gratitude for their willingness to be vaccinated.
With fall emerging, residents have begun expressing interest is all things autumn. Conversation topics ranging from potential Halloween costumes to favorite kinds of pie have us all looking forward to the changing seasons.
Carol Wallace, LTC resident, prepares for an outdoor excursion on a foggy, crisp morning.
▲ LTC resident Linda Reller enjoys a crazy hat party with her granddaughter, CNA Avery Skeek.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]